Posts Tagged ‘New York’

thermal image of tight house

I stole this photo from the website of Fabrica718. It is an image taken with an infrared camera of a block of Brooklyn brownstones. The blue one is the one they remodelled….blue because its envelope is so well insulated that very little heat is escaping. Pretty cool. I’m not sure why most of the other houses have blue second and third story windows. I can’t imagine that the whole block has been upgraded to triple pane. Any ideas?

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A while back I visited my friend Mike who works at Snohetta in Manhattan.  This is one of their most popular projects.  What I like about the Oslo Opera House is that the building is part of the landscape.  The ground continues up onto the roof of the building as a place to sit and enjoy the view and also as a skateboard park. Many of Snohetta’s projects have multifaceted angular shapes that do not seem contrived. The complicated shapes result from many different decisions during design rather than forcing the design to fit into a particularly shaped envelope.

I never had a chance to share the photos from my visit to their office, so here they are:

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This cafe in Brooklyn, NY has done a good job of turning what would usually be considered a highly undesirable feature into what almost might be considered an asset. (Sorry that all I have are quick snap shots with my phone.)

Plumbing waste line painted and wrapped in rope ala Alvar Aalto’s Villa Mairea

Plumbing wasteline continues

more pipes

Cheerful blue pipes

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The High Line in Manhattan is credited with generating over $2Billion of new investment and the creation of 20,000 jobs.

High Line fall 2010

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These small brick row houses face a lush gated courtyard perpendicular to the public street and each also has access to an alley on the back side. It is similar to this project in Berkeley, but minus the driveway through the middle….which makes a big difference. 

gate to the back alley

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This long apartment with windows at each end is in a building from the early 1800s. It hasn’t been staged for the photo shoot and the owner hasn’t finished moving in yet, but I was moved to capture some of the artistic decorating details that are already in place.

The fact that there are only windows on the ends, and the middle is dark might not be ideal, but the open plan allows a long view across the length of the apartment through the windowless center to the bright room on the other side. The simplicity of the unusually long space is nice.

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I spent Monday traversing Manhattan studying (loosely) the evolution of building technology over the last two centuries.  I was hoping that I could get a peek inside the Chrysler building, one of my favorites, but visitors are only allowed a few steps into the lobby. The facade patterns created by the windows and wall between is very elegant: vertical lines in the middle and horizontal bands around the corners. The base is more decorated with chevrons and circles and rectangles, and then the glorious top! The Cloud Club once occupied several floors of the crown. The small triangular windows make for a rather inglorious space on the inside.

The lighting in the lobby is very architectural.  By this I mean that it is integrated with the structure so that is helps define the space with areas of light and dark.  

James Maher has some better photos of the lobby on his website. Here are some more photos and information about the building.

I made it to the High Line, on the other side of town, in time to take a few picture at sunset.

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This building caught my eye because of the bold color choice that seemed unusual for a money-lending institution. The simple bright blue base complements the brick patterns above that are reminiscent of Native American designs. This shade of blue reminds me a bit of Mexico. I find the overall effect to be bold and quite pleasing…but I imagine that many might consider the blue too bright for such an application.

Below are some other shades of blue in the same neighborhood. This blue door is rather jarring with the red brick and dark trim. I’m not sure the “mexican blue” above would be any better for this house.

This blue is softer and has a bit of grey-brown mixed in. It reminds me of colonial American houses and New England.

and another blue door that is a bit more subdued and softened with white and grey.
Personally, I am actually not a fan of blue paint with red brick in any shade, bright or soft.

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Yesterday I had a unique tour of seven architectural treasures of NYC with music by Arvo Pärt. The architectural selections were made by a team from Snøhetta. Follow this link for more information on the artistic intentions and the weather balloons.

The first stop was the Magazine at Fort Jay on Governors Island with ethereal music based on a poem by Robert Burns. It was hot and humid outside, but cool in the stone tunnels. The  music played simultaneously from speakers in stone cave-tunnels of different sizes and shapes and the acoustics were what you’d expect in an underground stone tunnel, but varied depending on where you were in the space.

We were not allowed to take photos inside the Woolworth building, but it was wonderful to sit on the grand staircase in the lobby of this 1908 Skyscraper and take in the beautiful space with wonderful gothic details and listen to “the full orchestral and choral settings of In Principio” with “dramatic brass sections relieved by a pulsating rhythm and stoic pace of the choir, representing the balancing act that is common in Lower Manhattan” (from the guide pamphlet)

The final site was the unfinished 46th floor of 7 World Trade Center. The raw unfinished space and 360 degree views were accompanied by two pianos playing Hymn to a Great City.

The recently opened World Trade Center Memorial (With entry pavilion by Snøhetta)  and the multiple simultaneous construction sites adjacent were visible to the South.

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I found this instructive video on an  old friend’s website.

Bunny is very authentic and truly inspired by her beautiful table setting. I like the mixing of modern and antique.  Formal dining rooms are becoming a thing of the past for people who desire efficient living in small spaces. Eating areas that are closely connected to the kitchen fit well in the foody lifestyle of the early 21st century.

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Also in New York City, I revisited the wonderful High Line to see how all the plants are doing.  The are doing great!  In late October the High Line is alive with fall colors:

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Designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center is a very quiet and peaceful retreat from the clamor of Manhattan.

Instead of more mundane and technical solutions, they chose to achieve the desired quiet by commissioning a textile artist to weave giant tapestries and growing plants on other parts of the walls. A subtle water feature completes the effect perfectly.

The plant covered wall and one of many round skylights

The water fountain and the living wall

Handwoven Tapestry and a Computer Screen

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